New Director of Public Safety enacts community plans for the college

By Heather Fabritze
News Co-Editor

Ryan Colman, previously the Associate Director of Washington College’s Public Safety, was
promoted to the position of director over the summer following an interview process.

In an email from Student Affairs on Aug. 17, an announcement to the WC community
showcased Colman within this directorial position.

“Ryan brings an outlook that is centered on students and their safety,” the email said.

He started his new role on Aug. 7 after almost a year in his previous one. Since he was brought
to the College, he has transformed the officers’ training programs, enforced a plan for
community engagement, and instituted a new bike patrol.

According to Colman, his role as associate director involved oversight of the department’s
daily operations and updating training programs and policies.

When he stepped into his role, the trainings in particular were not “up to par.” Officers received
roughly 100 hours of training before being sent into the field on their own.

Colman felt that was not nearly enough time to properly know the job, so he advocated to
increase training to 300 hours.

He also required every officer to be certified as a crisis intervention officer.

Many of the department’s other policies were also not “up to date.”

“When I got here, I was like, ‘Holy cow, we need to get all of this stuff,’” Colman said.
“Because some officers were thinking [that] we’re doing things this way. There was no real
uniformity of policies [or] procedures, like this is what we are required to do…We’re now getting
that structure, is the best way to put it.”

Another large issue that Colman found was the officers’ lack of knowledge on campus
geography in order to respond to issues quickly.

His installation of a bike patrol for the beginning of the year is designed to not only assist with
this issue, but also build more relationships between them and the student body.

Colman pulled the idea for the patrol from his previous position at St. John’s College in
Annapolis, Md. WC and St. John’s are of a similar size, so he felt that the patrol would also be
successful at this institution.

“I love patrol and it’s good for people to see me outside of the office,” Colman said. “That’s
what I want. I feel like the director shouldn’t be just hidden behind the doors and you only come
down here if you have a problem or complaint. I want to be out there with the officers and
interacting and engaging with everybody.”

Colman said that his heart belongs more within community policing than in enforcing rules.
His largest priority for the upcoming year is promoting more engagement with the student body
among the officers.

The department purchased a snow cone machine with the intention to host pop-up events open
to all members of the community. Other ideas they plan to implement are pizza with PS and
donuts and coffee with PS.

“We’re a small enough campus, I feel like everyone should know everybody,” Colman said.
“And it’s sad that we weren’t that prior, but I can’t look back to where we were. I got to continue
to go forward.”

Colman also acknowledges that there have been numerous negative interactions between
students and Public Safety in the past.

However, he wants to ensure that any interactions like this in the future can be amended.

“It’s all about being transparent, which I feel like there hasn’t been,” Colman said. “And I’ve
only been here a year so I can’t speak for prior years, but I feel like there hasn’t been a lot of
transparency from the department, where it absolutely should.”

Photo courtesy of the WC Website

Photo Caption: Washington College’s Public Safety Director Ryan Colman hopes to achieve transparency on the College’s campus.

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